Dial H for Half the Comic

Chris and Vicki's first full issue (and indeed, the first full issue of Dial H for Hero) is so full that I've got to break it down into individual stories. Twice the dials, twice the superheroes, after all. But since even the villains were created by readers, I think it's only fair to talk about them too, and see if they could be integrated into the DCU. Speaking of the DCU, if it was always a bit nebulous if Robby Reed lived on Earth-1, 2 or X, Chris and Vicki are evidently on Earth-1, with the Gordanians and Superman both getting a mention.

Case 19: Adventure Comics #479
Dial Holders: Chris and Vicki
Dial Type: Watch and Pendant Dials
Dialing: When one member of the duo uses their Dial, the other's starts glowing as a signal that their help might be needed. This story established a one-hour limit on each transformation, something Robby never had to contend with. Identities last only an hour, and Chris and Vicki must wait an hour before dialing a new one.
Name: Megaboy (not a bad name for a teen hero, though a little old school)
Created by: David Cason, age 11, from Lagrange, Georgia
Costume: Where it doesn't look purple, it looks pink, and it's hard to get behind the two elements that break up the full-body leotard, namely the odd crosshair on his torso, and the bucket helmet.
Powers: Megaboy can fire mega-blasts from his hand, so powerful they propel him through the air (there doesn't seem t be collateral damage). He also appears to be stronger and tougher than the average bear.
Sighted: Near Fairfax and at the Stoney Heaven Nuclear Plant. After fighting Flying Buttress, Megaboy helps him and G.L.U.N.K. recover their control cylinders from the clutches of a robot sentry.
Possibilities: One of Ma Hunkle's kids, all grown up? Forbush Man analog to piss off Marvel? Legionnaire with a fetish for Ferro Lad?
Integration Quotient: 15% (he's got potential, but would likely be laughed at by other heroes)
Name: Sunspot (a lawsuit in the making, if anyone cares about the New Mutants anyway)
Created by: Shawn Sherman from South Roxanna, Illinois
Costume: The most distinctive thing about Sunspot's look is that swish of blond hair seeming to stretch at an angle when she moves.
Powers: Sunspot can generate great heat from her body, enough to throw heat beams around or dry out vines holding her. She can also fly at incredible speeds, doing Maine-Florida in 15 minutes.
Sighted: Near Fairfax and the Everglades. After fighting Flying Buttress, Sunspot helps him and G.L.U.N.K. recover their control cylinders from the clutches of a robot sentry that can control plants.
Possibilities: I realize that if I like Sunspot at all, it's because I like Vicki, because there's really nothing to make her stand apart from other fire-powered characters. At best, a disposable Titan or Outsider.
Integration Quotient: 10% (too generic to be of much use)
Name: Ice (back then, Ice was known as Icemaiden)
Created by: Clifford Stroud, age 16, address unknown (admonished by a footnote for not including it)
Costume: The long black gloves, boots and cape give contrast to an Amazon-in-repose outfit. Ice is like a Nordic goddess on holiday.
Powers: Rather obviously, Ice can generate cold and ice. She can also fly, leaving a streak of ice on take-off.
Sighted: In Egypt. She fights a Gordanian robot disguised as a sphinx to get the last remaining control cylinder.
Possibilities: Now that a beloved DC character is called Ice, there's little reason for this copycat to be around. Maybe some time back in history? The Demon Knights might meet a Nordic princess, precursor to Tora.
Integration Quotient: 45% (up from 0% thanks to the historical idea)
Name: Color Commando (kind of silly, but alliteration works)
Created by: James McClernan, age 15, from New York City
Costume: The black and white elements make him a good visual partner for Ice, and I like the one black arm, but he's hardly as colorful as his name would imply. The rainbow glove, powder blue mask and disco collar are all eyesores. Even without the color, those gloves are hardly the same style! Like the Rainbow Raider, he may be color blind.
Powers: The Color Commando has a gun that converts light into offensive energy. Presumably, those grenades aren't just for show and he might have other tools in his bag. He never uses these in the story however.
Sighted: In Egypt. He fights the robot sphinx with Ice.
Possibilities: The kind of character some writers like to set in smaller towns or more international venues, just to pad out the DCU's superhuman population outside of the cities readers care about. But I bet we wouldn't see this guy much.
Integration Quotient: 10% (inherent silliness and lackluster powers mean he's not even good at providing local color)

Also featuring...
Name: Flying Buttress and G.L.U.N.K. (those are TERRIBLE names, just terrible! G.L.U.N.K., by the way, means Galactic Logistic Unit for Navigation and Knowledge)
Created by: Flying Buttress by Steve Matson, age 17, from Portland, Oregon; G.L.U.N.K. by Richard Morrissey, age 26, from Farmingham, Massachusetts
Costume: G.L.U.N.K. looks like a metallic pyramidal spaceship, while its servant Flying Buttress, a colorless silicon-based life-form, has a bulky belt that prevents him from ever picking up a dime on the street. He does wear Strata's boots though (see Possibilities).
Powers: G.L.U.N.K. appears to be a sentient ship. In addition to flying through space and doing other spaceshippy things, it is equipped with a freeze ray that keeps a unit of Earth soldiers at bay. The Flying Buttress is its servant and can fly, fire beams of energy, and is apparently immune to Megaboy's powers, but not the full force of Sunspot's. Despite all this, they require Chris and Vicki to do all the work (to my surprise, there's no double-cross).
Sighted: In space, G.L.U.N.K. fought the Gordanians, but was forced to come to Earth where the evil reptiles had secreted technology important to the survival of the ship's world (presumably, it was built by, and serves, an alien race). When they landed, they were noticed by the army and Buttress had to fight a resident superhero named Megaboy. They were sighted in the Everglades and Egypt as well, giving rides to other heroes.
Possibilities: Terrible names aside, G.L.U.N.K. must belong to someone, possibly in the Vegan system. You'd think you'd see it or another similar unit in Omega Men or something. Buttress could be from Dryad, like Strata and Blok, drawing a connection to yet another of DC's space books.
Integration Quotient: 80% (built-in connections makes it easy, but file off the names, please)

Next time, we'll look at the second half of the book, as actual villains show up in Fairfax.

6 comments:

Matthew Turnage said...

I only ever read this version of Dial H when it was backing up The New Adventures of Superboy, but it's always fun to see if I recognize the names of anyone who had characters published. Richard Morrissey was a regular letterhack who sadly passed away some years ago, but Jim Shooter did name a character after him in tribute during his Legion run a few years ago. I wonder if Steve Matson might actually be Steve Mattson, colorist for DC back in the 90's and co-writer of Superboy and the Ravers with Karl Kesel.

Siskoid said...

That would be a really neat Dial H connection if it were!

snell said...

Colorado Commando would fit right in with Johns' emotional spectrum philosophy. He returned Substitute Legionnaire Colorado Kid's powers in his Superman/Legion story (red=rage, etc), so Commando would do the same...

Siskoid said...

I'm afraid Johns is losing all the good will he'd accumulated with me.

Steve Mattsson said...

What? You mean nobody saw The Flying Buttress' cameos in "Superboy and the Ravers"!

Siskoid said...

Completely forgotten it! But since the Ravers are on my Dial post list... its time will come again.

 

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